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Is Chili a Soup? – Ep. #86  | TRP

Is Chili a Soup? – Ep. #86 | TRP

On this TRP, we are joined by Charlotte aka Snapefantasy for a Replayer highlight episode and ask the important questions, such as do you like soup? Charlotte shares with us her favorite game series, you won’t be surprised! She also shares with us her background in broadcasting. We also discuss the news of a possible Last of Us one remake.

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The Future of the MCU

The Future of the MCU

The MCU. Love it or hate it, you simply can’t deny its effect on how movies have changed thanks to its “planning way ahead of time” strategy. Let’s be fair here, other big franchises are trying to do exactly what the MCU has done successfully. 

10 years of character, story, and world-building came together in Infinity War and Endgame and once it all came to a conclusion some people rightfully asked: ‘What now?’ I am one of those people who blindly believe in their favorite creators and let me tell you… I wholeheartedly believe in Kevin Feige. He is an absolute genius in my eyes. And trust me, I don’t call many people that. So even when they started announcing the new MCU titles I cheered like a 5-year old even though I had never heard of some of them and a few just seem downright strange. (Doctor Strange… get it? Not funny? Fine.) WandaVision was one of the titles where I was like: ‘I don’t know how I feel about this’.

Truth is that I’ve never really cared about Wanda or Vision on the same level as I cared for Captain America (who’s my absolute favorite) or Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spidey and I could go on. It’s not that I disliked their characters oh no… no. I can assure you that I wept like a child at the end of Infinity War. I also adore Elisabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, but logically, Vision’s dead, and Wanda is grieving so what could this show possibly be about and how are they back together and why does it look like a sitcom and there were so many more questions. Then it simply arrived on Disney Plus and officially blew away almost everyone who sat down and watched it every Friday.

Still for the final episode of WandaVision

The care that went into the story and the building of this post-blip era showed from the beginning to the end. Wanda’s struggle and how they chose to tell her story after losing everyone she loved is probably the smartest decision they’ve ever made at the MCU and it was the perfect opening to Phase 4 without any question or doubt. I think one quote from the series says it all: 


What is grief, if not love persevering?” 

WandaVision closed down its run perfectly by leaving open many questions and creating new possibilities for the future. So what is the future of the MCU? 

By the time this article sees the light of day, it is highly possible that the next chapter of the MCU has already started its run with ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’. Yet another TV Show with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan returning as the titular heroes and probably the best duo on screen. If you want to watch something funny dear readers, you should watch interviews with Mackie and Stan because they are absolutely hilarious together so I am expecting some great laughs from them. How their story will affect phase 4 is another interesting question. We left them at the crucial moment where Steve Rogers handed his shield to Sam (The Falcon). We also know that Winter Soldier and Falcon are not exactly friends (the co-worker’s promo hints at this even more and it’s hilarious) and that they might have a bit of a harder time working together (I am sensing a type of buddy-comedy that I am honestly dying to see). I personally LOVE that Zemo (Daniel Brühl) from Civil War is back. I think he is definitely in the top 5 MCU villains list (even if we could argue whether he is a villain or not). It will be interesting to see how he has changed since we last saw him. The fact that he chose a purple mask to instill fear in people by evoking Thanos already gives away a bit of his character. The question with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is how much connectivity will it have to WandaVision and then how will later projects connect with it. I mean, sure, this is the question in every case when it comes to the MCU, but I believe that now that we have the TV shows next to the movies and the knowledge that WandaVision will heavily connect to Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Spiderman… well, it begs the question. Are we getting even more connections than we are used to? Will there be an even bigger web to unfold when it comes to connecting the lines? Let’s look at it this way. 

WandaVision -> Other projects -> confirmed connection 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier -> Other projects -> High possibility of connection 

Loki -> Other projects -> Big question 

Let’s stop here. We know that Loki is the very same Loki who got away with the tesseract when the time heist went a bit wrong on Tony, Steve, Scott, and Bruce’s end. Therefore, if we go by what they said about time travel and its rules in Endgame, it means that whatever happens with Loki happens on a different timeline meaning that it won’t have an effect on what happens in other MCU titles. Unless they pull a trick on us, logically Loki is a standalone series that’s bringing back everyone’s favorite God of Mischief. I might be completely wrong and then you are free to refer back to this article if I go into denial.

 
Another title that we can be pretty sure about is Black Widow. Sure there are theories out there (mine included) but as far as we are all concerned Black Widow takes place before Natasha becomes an Avenger. It will also be the first MCU movie to drop in Phase 4 so I’m just saying, anything is possible. 

We have two more familiar faces showing up this year. Hawkeye with his series and Spiderman with his movie. Hawkeye is still a bit of a mystery and we know that Kate Bishop will enter the MCU through it (played by the amazing Hailee Steinfeld) but story-wise they are keeping everything a secret. Spiderman, however, will possibly be our first official look into the multiverse if we believe all the casting news of course. News? Or just rumors? Or even better an elaborate marketing campaign to get people even more hyped (even if I don’t know how that could be possible)? 

What really interests me are the new heroes that will get introduced this year. Shang-Chi, the master of Kung Fu, will be the first one to arrive. He first appeared in 1973 in Marvel Comics but his first solo comic didn’t come out until 1983. Seeing his story come to life in the MCU opens new possibilities for them to expand their world in a new direction. It will be interesting to see how he will become part of the Avengers team or if he will become part of the team at all. 

The other newcomers this year who will open a completely new world will be the Eternals. Their story is one of the greatest from Marvel and I have to be honest, it’s one of my personal favorites next to Captain America.  When they announced it and when Angelina Jolie stepped on the stage, I almost fainted. Jolie is something of a hero for me and I look up to her in many respects, so I think I can safely say that I am very VERY excited to see this movie. There’s one more actor they cast in this movie that I am really excited about, Ma Dong-Seok. Being a major Korean cinema fan, it was mind-blowing to see him among the cast. He is an excellent actor and I would highly recommend checking out his work in other movies including Train to Busan (Busanhaeng). Important to note is the arrival of the first deaf superhero in the MCU played by Lauren Ridloff who is a well-known deaf actress (The Walking Dead, Sound of Metal). 

Another great thing about Eternals is the director: Chloé Zhao who’s now on a winning streak for her beautiful movie Nomadland. Seeing her step into the director’s chair gives even more hope for this movie (even though we already established that I have blind faith in Marvel :D). 

The cast of Eternals and their director Chloé Zhao at SDCC


The future of the MCU doesn’t stop in 2021 though. We could go on and on about what’s to come and just to give you all a brief look through: 

Captain Marvel 2

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

She-Hulk

Blade

Ms. Marvel

Thor: Love and Thunder

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

What if…?

Secret Invasion

Armor Wars

Black Panther 2

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

If you ask me, a completely biased fan of the MCU, I would say that the future couldn’t be any brighter and that it’s an amazing time to be a fan of these films. Seeing how their shows and films make a lot of people utterly excited and gives them a platform to create theories of their own is beautiful, to say the least. Even the weaker entries into this big build-up are welcomed and will find their footing in the Universe. Knowing that they plan years ahead with their stories and how they build up their characters is what makes them special for me and the reason I trust them, without a doubt. 

It is an amazing time to be a Marvel fan. 

What is your favorite Marvel character and what movie or TV show are you most looking forward to?

 

 

The Future of the MCU

The Future of the MCU

The MCU. Love it or hate it, you simply can’t deny its effect on how movies have changed thanks to its “planning way ahead of time” strategy. Let’s be fair here, other big franchises are trying to do exactly what the MCU has done successfully. 

10 years of character, story, and world-building came together in Infinity War and Endgame and once it all came to a conclusion some people rightfully asked: ‘What now?’ I am one of those people who blindly believe in their favorite creators and let me tell you… I wholeheartedly believe in Kevin Feige. He is an absolute genius in my eyes. And trust me, I don’t call many people that. So even when they started announcing the new MCU titles I cheered like a 5-year old even though I had never heard of some of them and a few just seem downright strange. (Doctor Strange… get it? Not funny? Fine.) WandaVision was one of the titles where I was like: ‘I don’t know how I feel about this’.

Truth is that I’ve never really cared about Wanda or Vision on the same level as I cared for Captain America (who’s my absolute favorite) or Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spidey and I could go on. It’s not that I disliked their characters oh no… no. I can assure you that I wept like a child at the end of Infinity War. I also adore Elisabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, but logically, Vision’s dead, and Wanda is grieving so what could this show possibly be about and how are they back together and why does it look like a sitcom and there were so many more questions. Then it simply arrived on Disney Plus and officially blew away almost everyone who sat down and watched it every Friday.

Still for the final episode of WandaVision

The care that went into the story and the building of this post-blip era showed from the beginning to the end. Wanda’s struggle and how they chose to tell her story after losing everyone she loved is probably the smartest decision they’ve ever made at the MCU and it was the perfect opening to Phase 4 without any question or doubt. I think one quote from the series says it all: 


What is grief, if not love persevering?” 

WandaVision closed down its run perfectly by leaving open many questions and creating new possibilities for the future. So what is the future of the MCU? 

By the time this article sees the light of day, it is highly possible that the next chapter of the MCU has already started its run with ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’. Yet another TV Show with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan returning as the titular heroes and probably the best duo on screen. If you want to watch something funny dear readers, you should watch interviews with Mackie and Stan because they are absolutely hilarious together so I am expecting some great laughs from them. How their story will affect phase 4 is another interesting question. We left them at the crucial moment where Steve Rogers handed his shield to Sam (The Falcon). We also know that Winter Soldier and Falcon are not exactly friends (the co-worker’s promo hints at this even more and it’s hilarious) and that they might have a bit of a harder time working together (I am sensing a type of buddy-comedy that I am honestly dying to see). I personally LOVE that Zemo (Daniel Brühl) from Civil War is back. I think he is definitely in the top 5 MCU villains list (even if we could argue whether he is a villain or not). It will be interesting to see how he has changed since we last saw him. The fact that he chose a purple mask to instill fear in people by evoking Thanos already gives away a bit of his character. The question with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is how much connectivity will it have to WandaVision and then how will later projects connect with it. I mean, sure, this is the question in every case when it comes to the MCU, but I believe that now that we have the TV shows next to the movies and the knowledge that WandaVision will heavily connect to Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Spiderman… well, it begs the question. Are we getting even more connections than we are used to? Will there be an even bigger web to unfold when it comes to connecting the lines? Let’s look at it this way. 

WandaVision -> Other projects -> confirmed connection 

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier -> Other projects -> High possibility of connection 

Loki -> Other projects -> Big question 

Let’s stop here. We know that Loki is the very same Loki who got away with the tesseract when the time heist went a bit wrong on Tony, Steve, Scott, and Bruce’s end. Therefore, if we go by what they said about time travel and its rules in Endgame, it means that whatever happens with Loki happens on a different timeline meaning that it won’t have an effect on what happens in other MCU titles. Unless they pull a trick on us, logically Loki is a standalone series that’s bringing back everyone’s favorite God of Mischief. I might be completely wrong and then you are free to refer back to this article if I go into denial.

 
Another title that we can be pretty sure about is Black Widow. Sure there are theories out there (mine included) but as far as we are all concerned Black Widow takes place before Natasha becomes an Avenger. It will also be the first MCU movie to drop in Phase 4 so I’m just saying, anything is possible. 

We have two more familiar faces showing up this year. Hawkeye with his series and Spiderman with his movie. Hawkeye is still a bit of a mystery and we know that Kate Bishop will enter the MCU through it (played by the amazing Hailee Steinfeld) but story-wise they are keeping everything a secret. Spiderman, however, will possibly be our first official look into the multiverse if we believe all the casting news of course. News? Or just rumors? Or even better an elaborate marketing campaign to get people even more hyped (even if I don’t know how that could be possible)? 

What really interests me are the new heroes that will get introduced this year. Shang-Chi, the master of Kung Fu, will be the first one to arrive. He first appeared in 1973 in Marvel Comics but his first solo comic didn’t come out until 1983. Seeing his story come to life in the MCU opens new possibilities for them to expand their world in a new direction. It will be interesting to see how he will become part of the Avengers team or if he will become part of the team at all. 

The other newcomers this year who will open a completely new world will be the Eternals. Their story is one of the greatest from Marvel and I have to be honest, it’s one of my personal favorites next to Captain America.  When they announced it and when Angelina Jolie stepped on the stage, I almost fainted. Jolie is something of a hero for me and I look up to her in many respects, so I think I can safely say that I am very VERY excited to see this movie. There’s one more actor they cast in this movie that I am really excited about, Ma Dong-Seok. Being a major Korean cinema fan, it was mind-blowing to see him among the cast. He is an excellent actor and I would highly recommend checking out his work in other movies including Train to Busan (Busanhaeng). Important to note is the arrival of the first deaf superhero in the MCU played by Lauren Ridloff who is a well-known deaf actress (The Walking Dead, Sound of Metal). 

Another great thing about Eternals is the director: Chloé Zhao who’s now on a winning streak for her beautiful movie Nomadland. Seeing her step into the director’s chair gives even more hope for this movie (even though we already established that I have blind faith in Marvel :D). 

The cast of Eternals and their director Chloé Zhao at SDCC


The future of the MCU doesn’t stop in 2021 though. We could go on and on about what’s to come and just to give you all a brief look through: 

Captain Marvel 2

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

She-Hulk

Blade

Ms. Marvel

Thor: Love and Thunder

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

What if…?

Secret Invasion

Armor Wars

Black Panther 2

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

If you ask me, a completely biased fan of the MCU, I would say that the future couldn’t be any brighter and that it’s an amazing time to be a fan of these films. Seeing how their shows and films make a lot of people utterly excited and gives them a platform to create theories of their own is beautiful, to say the least. Even the weaker entries into this big build-up are welcomed and will find their footing in the Universe. Knowing that they plan years ahead with their stories and how they build up their characters is what makes them special for me and the reason I trust them, without a doubt. 

It is an amazing time to be a Marvel fan. 

What is your favorite Marvel character and what movie or TV show are you most looking forward to?

 

 

SPOILERS and YOU: A Guide to “Twists”

SPOILERS and YOU: A Guide to “Twists”

Vader is Luke’s bad guy. Rosebud was the name of a 2-hour long question. From the beginning, Bruce Willis was in the movie the WHOLE time. 

We live in a time of SPOILERS everywhere. One of the big questions about it, if you haven’t heard, is “Does knowing the twist of a movie or video game actually ruin the whole story for you? Or was the whole thing only hanging on the twist alone, making the story weak by comparison.”  Well, much like buttholes, everyone has an opinion. And I have a butthole because I’m one of those “everyones.” So, let’s explore my… “opinion” in this article, which I’m certain no one asked for.

Here’s a short story for you to set up the discussion:

A woman walks into a room with a glass of wine, sits next to her husband, and says, “I love you so much. I just want you to know that I couldn’t make it without you.” The husband says, “Is that you talking, or the wine?” The woman says, “Neither. It’s me talking to the wine.” (pause for laughter)

This is an example of subverting expectations, otherwise called “the twist.” This twist is what can be “spoiled” for an audience if they know about it before experiencing it. 

Let’s science this bitch.

Expectation subversion a commonly-used tool in telling jokes. You set up the story and tell it in a way that forces the audience to logically think of how it’s going to end. By the end of it, you have presented a “twist,” forcing the audience to rethink the story and see it in a new way with new information. In joke-telling, you have to make this new information work without the need to think too long about it. It needs to hit quickly, register fast, and invite the audience to laugh at the jab. The audience laughs not because they were tricked but because they feel rewarded for deciphering the information correctly. 

And that’s the word I want you to focus on when it comes to the twist: the REWARD

Ok, lesson over. 

Now my big question: Is giving key information about a story actually spoiling that rewarding experience?

Let’s take that concept of reward and try to contextualize it to a shared experience. Given the subject matter, I believe many people familiar with this website and its contents have completed a little unknown Indie video game called Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. If not, get the hell off the internet and go play this masterpiece of a game and have your life changed forever. NOW! If you prefer to trudge on, please be forewarned: MAJOR ACTUAL SPOILERS AHEAD! Let’s do this.

So after Nathan Drake dies… ok, just kidding (always wanted to do that). 

Zoran Lazarević: A mug only a mother can love… after a whole bottle.

The entirety of Uncharted 2 tells you the story of Nathan Drake and company trying to blah blah blah. If you made it to this part, you know the story. The point is that the focus of the story always sustained itself to one primary objective: finding the Cintamani stone. The only character that actually knew what was going on was the antagonist, Zoran Lazarebitch (great joke, and I don’t know how to do the accented c on my keyboard). When you finally realize what all the cryptic information about the stone actually meant and what it did, it was a proverbial “kick to the nuts.”

I’ll never forget what I felt when Drake said, “You gotta be shittin’ me,” after realizing the stone’s true purpose. When he knew something was up, I knew something was up. When he received the new info, I figured it out with him. Granted, he was quicker than me to grasp the concept, and then he told me, but I was there for the ride every step of the way. WE earned this together. And everything in my soul felt that reward. This is subversion done correctly.

So, for Uncharted 2, is knowing this key information spoiling the rewarding experience?

Well… EVERYTHING about the information gained in your first playthrough affects how you experience the story on the second playthrough. Noticing the twist being foreshadowed throughout the game and putting the information together actually AMPLIFIES the reward felt each time you play it. That’s why so many people play the game multiple times a year even to this day.

That’s why I’d refer to this as “good” subversion.

Now for an example of bad subversion (dun dun duuuuuun). For this one, I’m going to exploit my headache-inducing memory at the expense of making my article work: Game of Thrones’ series ending. (Sorry, Michelle!) Obviously, SPOILERS AHEAD.

Honestly, this would have been an improvement.

Unlike Uncharted 2, the Game of Thrones series is all over the place. There are characters making decisions on things everywhere for different reasons all the time. When they eventually act on those decisions, their actions are arbitrary at best. If you think about their actions for more than half a nanosecond, you’ll notice toward the end of the series that all the characters started acting in different ways (like complete dumbasses) than we recognize because they needed to get to the predetermined (bad) ending the show-runners created. The result was that every character’s decision was forced to trigger that “twist effect.

When the subversion itself is done well, as in Uncharted 2, the media in question gets noticed and elevated to artistic ranks. It’s no wonder why everyone is trying to capitalize on this “expectation subversion” mechanic. But when you continue to do the “expectations” part for years and then “subvert” only in the final minutes, it has an opposite effect on the people taking in the information: they feel no reward and, instead, feel cheated.

So how does knowing Game of Thrones’ key information affecting that rewarding experience?

The setups were cheap thrills that kept me watching through the end of the series but then left me feeling punished for retaining all that info by the end, making me a sad, sad boy. Many current shows are actually guilty of this same tactic. And that’s by design. Not the sucking part, but trying to keep people guessing and then forcing the twist at the end. Bad subversion.

By the way, if you’re loving this topic, dive into it more in this video from Overly Sarcastic Productions, which inspired my article: Trope Talk: Plot Twists.

So, knowing the twist in a story will absolutely change the experience. That said, it can either hurt or enhance your experience. If I spoiled the punch line of the joke at the beginning for you, it wouldn’t have had the same impact. It would have weakened your experience and cheated you out of a laugh. Knowing the end of Uncharted 2 won’t lessen the impact of such an incredible story because you need the whole story for the impact to matter. In contrast, knowing the end to Game of Thrones does spoil the ending because you know that the cheap thrills they give you aren’t leading to a rewarding payoff.

People will experience things differently, that much is known. People also want to have control over how they consume those experiences. When someone changes that organic experience for someone else by forcing information on them about a story, it can rob them of the intended emotions created by the storyteller. Everyone has the right to choose what information they want going into a story, and that’s always fine. But please keep in mind not everyone thinks like you.

As a writer, I create stories that I hope will “wow” the audience. I want the reader to enjoy the journey, and I hope they’ll want to return to that journey and experience a new kind of joy each time. Even if knowing the big “twist” doesn’t ruin their reward, it would deny them that FULL experience I initially intended. It robs them of that gut punch from the reveal, something that storytellers usually work very diligently to create. So, to all the people that get a rise out of spoiling things for others, I say this:  

Don’t be asshats… um… please

You made it to the end! This is for those of you that didn’t TLDR.

 

What stories have you had spoiled for you? Or what are some great, or terrible, twists that you’d like to praise or vent about? Let’s chat in the comments, but let’s try to keep things spoiler-free. (You know, like I didn’t.)

 

The C-List Heroes We Need in the DC Cinematic Universe

The C-List Heroes We Need in the DC Cinematic Universe

Picture the scene, dear reader. It is 2003, and my good self, an avid Comic Book fan is browsing the shelves of my local comic book store. I’m tired of the constant stream of big comic events that pit entire casts of A-list heroes against a cataclysmic threat that is on the brink of consuming existence as they know it, rebooting the universe and, once it’s all over, they all get reset back to issue #1. Or the age-old tale of one top-selling hero battling against another in a crossover event that, for some reason, needs to be collected across multiple comic titles that aren’t usually on your pull list, but you have to buy them all in order to get the full story.

The growing need to break from the norm of superhero comic books is strong and, so far, going unsated. I’m just about to give up when, like a shining beacon of curious hope, two brightly coloured covers leap out from one of the lower shelves where the graphic novels live. The books in question are Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can’t Believe it’s not the Justice League. Take it from me, dear reader, these are two of, if not the best, books about C-list Superheroes that have hit hard times. From writers Keith Giffen & J.M Dematteis and artist Kevin Maguire, this is a comic series about an unlikely and sometimes unwilling bunch of would-be heroes that are just trying to be relevant in a world inhabited with more powerful and successful superheroes.

The stories contained within, while being a call back to the JLA International era, are also full of chaotic, over-the-top scenarios with some suspense and a lot of humor thrown in for good measure. And because they are so well written, there are even some subtext and plot points that build toward a big event that comes home to roost down the line in a future, much bigger book. Heavily impacting on the lives of the entire DC universe.

This is world-building at its finest, and it’s done with characters that even a seasoned comic book reader wouldn’t expect.

I mean, seriously, who would’ve thought I’d care about Blue Beetle? Never mind how his storyline would impact an entire universe and do what it did to Wonder Woman? See, I bet you’re intrigued after reading that right? These books are fantastic and surprisingly, despite their more comedic tone, lead into one of DC Comics’ most lauded and dramatic stories, Infinite Crisis.

So, this begs the question: if these stories can be told so well in comic book form, why can’t they be translated to the big screen? They are ripe for adaptation, and I think they would truly solidify the DC Cinematic Universe in the same way that the story arcs in the Marvel Universe have done.

DC’s TV outings have been a big success. The CW’s Arrowverse showed that a plethora of heroes could be mined for small-screen stardom. The Arrowverse went so far as to have big crossover events taken straight out of the comic books that inspired them, pulling these off to great fanfare given their limited budgets. And, for the most part, they showed their big-screen counterparts how to actually handle the heroes living through these events. Also, Titans and Doom Patrol showed that show creators could cater to an older audience of comic book fans to great success without making them brooding affairs of despair.

original artwork by Wayne Talbot

It is on the big screen that Warner Bros and DC have had mixed results, at least critically if not financially. Unlike Marvel’s offerings and their ability to tie both motion pictures and TV shows together in one big universe, DC has faltered along the way. And while their more recent offerings are showing some cohesion, they have yet to build a foundation that isn’t plagued by cracks.

There is a definite divide in the fanbase, with the more extreme fans decrying any negativity towards the overly dour and somber world these heroes inhabit, a world in a perpetual state of infighting and self-doubt. 

It is a world without hope, something that a universe that Superman inhabits should never be without in its darkest hour. Yet in the movies of this DC universe, much-needed hope is as rare as color in a palette of browns and greys.

For the less venomous within the fanbase, the seemingly rushed attempt to create a world that all these heroes inhabited together has been viewed as being forced and built on a lack of understanding of the core elements of the heroes and also the villains themselves. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to admit that some of the casting has been fantastic. Margot Robbie’s turn as Harley Quinn is a bright spot, first in the critically panned but financially successful Suicide Squad, and then in Birds of Prey (which I really enjoyed).  Warner Bros definitely seem to be giving more thought and effort to Harley’s place in the world than any of the main trinity going so far as to hire director James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame to helm the Suicide Squad sequel. With Gunn bringing his own flavor to the impressively cast follow-up, I have hope in the DC’s cinematic universe that I was so very much lacking until very recently. 

original artwork by Wayne Talbot

Now, I don’t know if the creative teams behind these movies have met in boardrooms, or (more than likely in recent times) over a Zoom call, but since the release of Wonder Woman 1984, they now have a key element in adapting the Formerly Known as the Justice League titles to the screen in the form of none other than Max Lord, as played by Pedro Pascal. (Pascal is so hot right now.) Albeit his portrayal leans heavily on Lord’s used car salesman aspect of the character. If Warner Bros and DC were to expand his story past WW84, maybe to atone for his deeds in the movie, which would be an interesting way to move him forward and allow him to bring the other characters along for the ride.

The premise in the comic book is that Lord wants to create a team of superheroes for hire, made up of lesser-known heroes who have either retired or are at the lower rung of the hero ladder. A group is formed, and misunderstandings and hijinks ensue. But the beautiful thing about the stories contained within are the relationships between the characters as they find their feet and try to make their way through the chaotic world they live in. We get to see Blue Beetle and Booster Gold’s bromance. We learn about the innocence of Mary Marvel (who can easily tie the Shazam movie into the rest of the world) as she tries to find her place among the more seasoned heroes in the group. We see the marriage of Sue and Ralph Digby, which also leads into a truly heart-breaking storyline in the event Identity Crisis. These books even contain a dry-witted cameo of Batman, whose jokes are unnerving for those around him.

These two books are the root of some truly brilliant pieces of storytelling that would give Warner Bros and DC a really solid foundation on which to build a world of intertwining events. They would add substance, stability, and a much-needed sense of humor and self-awareness to a currently disjointed collection of movies that continue to divide fans. DC superhero movies have long been a victim of needing to be a serious affair.

From Christopher Nolan’s crime drama Batman movies to Zack Snyder’s bombastically dour Dawn of Justice, but given recent releases like Shazam and Birds of Prey, it seems that some things might be changing. I mean the Snyder Cut of Justice League is on the way, and the precedent of its reworking and subsequent release is a worrying one given it as essentially the studio giving in to the social media mob and collective throwing of toys from the pram. But if Warner Bros and DC really want to try and build a sustainable and expandable cinematic world to rival that of Marvel’s, they need not look far. The inspiration or countless pieces of storytelling are right at their fingertips, simply waiting for someone to actually read them.

DC fans, what do you think of bringing these C-list heroes and stories into the cinematic universe? Let’s discuss in the comments.

 

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